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Laminectomy discectomy

I'm a 32 year old male who has been dealing with sciatica really bad for about 5 months. I went through all physical therapy without results. I couldn't stand up for long periods of time and was having trouble sleeping. I still went and did everything I liked to do but was always in pain. I finally decided to go get an MRI and the results were I had a huge herniated disc in my L5/S1. I went to several specialist and they all had the same answer. It wasn't going to fix on its own. I was really worried cause I pretty much knew I was going to have to get it fixed. I have never been in the hospital or anything my whole life. I decided to get the operation done.

I went in for surgery and was a nervous wreck. Which I'm sure anyone going on for surgery is going to be. I finally woke up in recovery and felt just really out of it. I finally got up to my room and they hooked me up to a pain pump. At this point I really didn't want to push it because I really wasn't in much pain and I didn't feel like I needed it and just wanted to get back to my normal state of mind. A few more hours pass and physical therapy shows up saying it's time to walk. Still not in that much pain I still haven't pushed the pain pump or taking any medications. I finally sit up which kind of hurt a little bit but wasn't that bad. The therapist checks for weakness in muscles and then puts a belt on me and we stand up. I had some pain from the surgery but my sciatica had been completely gone. I start to take a couple of steps and I start to feel really good about myself. They walk me around the nurses station without help and the physical therapist says I'm doing great that I don't need her anymore. I go back to room and lay back down for a bit. Pain is still just a dull kind of soreness then sharp pain. It's gets closer to the evening and I'm still not in much pain so I decide I'm not taking the pain meds or pain pump. I ask them to take out the pain pump and nurses call the doctor and he told them to keep it hooked up overnight in case I started hurting because the second day is the worst. I periodically get up and take walks around the nurses station because it felt good to walk. I finally start getting really tired and pass out rather quick. You can't get much sleep in a hospital with them coming in every so often to check vitals. I get up at 4 a.m. and decide the pain has stayed the same that I'm ready for the Iv and pain pump to come out. I finally get everything out and I'm waking everywhere. Doctor comes in to see me the next morning and releases me. I made it through the surgery without pain meds except what they gave me before I was awake. I'm guessing the pain from the sciatica was so bad the surgical pain wasn't that bad. I did have some pain but wasn't enough to require anything but regular Tylenol. I'm on day 3 of recovery and I took 2 regular Tylenol before I left the hospital because I had a 2 hour drive home. The ride home wasn't base at all. Sitting up kind of hurt a bit but wasn't all that bad.

I'm writing this for anyone who is dealing with the same things that I had been. I'm sure not everyone will be as blessed as I have been with my recovery. Hopefully everything works out for me during my recovery and I'll keep daily track of it and post more.



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  • That's very encouraging to hear.. I'm sitting at home being released today from hospital having had the same surgery last night.. apparently the consultant registrar said my herniated disc was the size of a mentos.. anyway after having a horrid nights sleep, due to checks etc i was up and about with the physio by 10am.

    I'm suffering with localised lower back pain at the sight of surgery. Taking over the counter meds for pain relief, but walking and sitting for periods of 15 to 20 mins.

    I'm going to focus on walking manageable distances for the next couple of days. Also taking it easy, as easy as you can a week before xmas.

    Keep up the positive attitude... and Happy Christmas


    40 year old male generally fit and healthy

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  • The incision was about 2 inches and yes it was just the L5/S1. It's been a week now since surgery and the pain was very minimal. I have been up walking everyday but still no lifting l, bending twisting. I had my follow up appointment today and I actually get to go back to work after the first of the year on light duty. Just stiffness now. Trying to work all of it out. I hope each of you heal fast and get back to doing what y'all love. I know I am. Have a great Christmas

  • Bigred,

    Your experience after surgery sounds just like mine. I had my first laminectomy at 33. My wife says I walked into the hospital for my surgery like an 80 yr. old man. I could not stand up straight or move without extreme pain. 1 hr. out of recovery and I was walking upright and to fast for her around the nurses station. I felt so good that I went back to my old ways. BIG MISTAKE! I had the next level up done 5 yrs. later. That recovery was close to the same. It took a little longer though. I now have some scoliosis from the 2 laminectomies and my spine rotates quite a bit now. So I see a chiropractor regularly. He has helped a lot! I am now 10 yrs. out from my 2nd surgery and have no regrets! Some advice though. I'm sure you will start to have some pain in the areas you had before and even in areas you didn't. Not to worry it's all part of the healing. Also when you feel better you've got to learn to think before doing! Look for better ways to lift things or move stuff! It is really important since you will never be 100% even though you may feel like you are. I Hope you do well and heal quickly!!!

  • Hi,

    Glad to hear it worked out so well for you.

    For those in constant pain and considering surgery on the lumbar i have two success stories that i have been through in the last 20 months after dealing with lower back pain for almost 20 years. Just remember that everyone's surgery outcome and recovery time will be different, here's my experiences.

    April 2016:

    Had Laminctomy/Discectomy from a bad herniation on L 4/5 as well as stenosis on that level caused by years of compression as I was an auto mechanic for 30 years. Since 1999 i saw many "orthopedics Doctors" that only recommended either PT or epidural shots and i did both multiple times over a 15 year period. In January of 2016, I'm at the sink loading the dishwasher (a lot of twisting) then i sneeze and that was it. Went to my knees and was in serious pain. It was the sciatic nerve on the right side. By luck i call my General Practitioner and he recommends a Group that specializes in Spinal injuries. I met the doctor, who is really a surgeon and he showed me things on the MRI that no doctor has ever done or me. He zoomed in and used a measuring tools on the computer to show the difference between a good and bad disc and showed the stenosis. At that point i heard a word that no other doctor used, Surgery. He also gave me the other options but based on his experience and knowledge i trusted him. Below is how he explained it and its exactly how it went:

    Surgery - 2/3 weeks of recovery from procedure - some lingering leg pain - 4 weeks of Therapy - 4/6 months before im totally pain Free.

    After a year i went back to my old ways of lifting heavy stuff, bending and twisting in all directions, and having bad posture and bad sitting habits. Around Thanksgiving 2017 i start getting pain but now it on the left side and its the Sciatic nerve. The only way i could somewhat relax was to lie on my stomach and did that for weeks. I Couldn't lie on my back, sit down, or stand (unless i was constantly moving). The sharp and relentless pain was in foot, ankle, shin, and outer thigh.

    December 2017:

    Second week of December I went back to surgeon and MRI showed a herniated disc on L 3/4, one level above my previous repair. Luckily no stenosis at this level. He said "you know the options" and told me to go home, talk to my family and think over. I called him the next day and scheduled the surgery.

    On December 20th 2017, I had a Micro Endoscopic Discectomy performed. Tough time to have surgery so close to Christmas but my wife was extremely supportive and promised she can handle both my recover and the holidays. Post Op day 19 and i had the stitches removed today and still have some annoying dull pain in foot and ankle. Foot and toes are numb at times. The doctor and I are happy with results and he explained that nerves repair at a rate of 1mm a day so it takes time to totally heal. Scheduled PT to start next week as i find stretching definitely helps to relieve the pain.

    Keys to recovery: Walk, walk and walk, Ice for swelling and Heat to loosen leg muscles. Pain meds only when necessary (over the counter), Light stretching after pain from procedure subsides, Physical therapy unless you already have a good daily stretching routine and stick to it.

    I'll be happy to answer any specific questions. I know what its like to go through these forums, in pain, looking for answers to questions and Post OP results.

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